Weekly review: 16th – 20th April 2012

Common parts

In the absence of some indication of a contrary intention, the parties to the DMC and to the first assignment of units can normally be taken to have intended that external walls are common parts (Mei Foo Sun Chuen Stage VI v Grand Yield Knitters Ltd).

Contracts: time of essence: deposit

Where time is of the essence for completion even a short delay is a repudiatory breach. In the normal course of events, there is no reason for equity to relieve the buyer from this nor from the loss of his deposit (if the contract so provides) (Union Eagle Ltd v Golden Achievement Ltd).

Estoppel by representation

The common law doctrine of estoppel by representation is a rule of evidence. Where it is sucessfully invoked but there is a disproportion between the gain to the representee and the detriment suffered, equity can play a part and only allow the estoppel to be relied upon to the extent of the detriment suffered by the representee (National Westminster Bank plc v Somer International (UK) Ltd).

Leases: construction: rent payable in advance

Each contract has to be looked at individually in the light of the words used, the contract as a whole and the factual matrix. Only limited help is to be obtained by looking at how a given phrase was construed in a different contract. Where rent is payable quarterly in advance and the lease ends prematurely during a quarter, it is likely to be the case that the whole rent has to be paid and not just rent up to the end of the term (PCE Investors Ltd v Cancer Research UK ).

Nuisance: injunctions

An injunction can be granted against a person or group identified by description rather than by name provided that the description is sufficiently precise. An injunction is normally available to prevent nuisance (here unlawful interference with a right of way) and trespass. An injunction will only be denied in special circumstances (Billion Star Development Ltd v Wong Tak Chuen).

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